Tre notti d'amore (1964)
Italian Four Panel Poster
Tre notti d'amore, directed by Renato Castellani, Luigi Comencini, and Franco Rossi, is a three-segment Italian comedy starring Catherine in all three segments. During the opening credits, Catherine is featured, dancing and posing, on a stage with vivid colors and costumes (the picture that adorns this blog is from that opening sequence). The opening sequence is well done, with a very mod-60's feel to it. Immediately, you know that this is going to be a true "Catherine Spaak" film.
In the first segment (which takes a humorous jab at the mafia), Catherine plays Giselle, the young French widow of a deceased mafia boss, who is accompanying his body back to his hometown for the funeral. We learn that he died only eight days after the marriage from a heart attack, presumably worn out from all of the lovemaking during the days that he remained tucked away in a hotel room with his new bride. In some respects, Giselle comes across as somewhat of a Marilyn-Monroe-type. She does a bit of cooing, prancing around, and generally driving the men in town wild. The men are fascinated by the pretty widow, and the fact that she is "French" makes her all the more alluring. The problem is that, while Giselle is a celebrity in her deceased husband's home town, mafia enforcers are watching her every move to take revenge on anyone that is perceived to have slighted her in the least way or to have made a pass at her. The men in town become terrified at the sight of her, because they fear death for not being able to control their attraction to her. The segment is generally well-done, interesting, and humorous.
In the second segment (which takes a humorous jab at the Catholic Church), Catherine plays Ghiga, a young woman who has used her feminine charms to attract a much older sugar daddy. After crashing his cool, white, Mercedes Benz convertible while speeding around the countryside, Ghiga finds herself convalescing in a small hospital wing of a convent for men. American actor John Phillip Law plays Brother Felice, the young convent brother charged with being her nurse. Ghiga is intrigued by and attracted to the handsome young Catholic nurse, and in her bedridden state (with casts covering most of her body), she tries every trick in her arsenal to tempt him into a dalliance with her. Brother Felice, on the other hand, struggles mightily to resist her temptations, as Ghiga keeps postponing her stay to continue pursuing him. Ultimately, Ghiga becomes convinced that Brother Felice has a good heart and is a man of his convictions, so she decides to leave the convent and let him be. Not surprisingly, Brother Felice cannot get Ghiga out of his mind and leaves the convent to be with her. Unfortunately, he finds that she has become a nun! Like the first segment, this story is generally well-done, interesting, and humorous.
In the third segment, Catherine plays Cirilla, the teen-aged bride of an older man, Giuliano (played by Enrico Maria Salerno). Giuliano tries to convince Cirilla that he is suffering from claustrophobia because of being married and not being able to be with other women. Cirilla then asks one of her friends to help her out by sleeping with her husband, and the comedy ensues. This segment is OK, but it is not as good as the first two. There is a really cool scene in this segment, though, in which Catherine looks very hip and shows off her dancing skills with a group of guys dancing along with her.
Overall, this is a good film and should be on the must-see list for Catherine fans. Catherine generally looks lovely, and her acting is good. This film gives her an opportunity to shine in the type of comedic role that I have always felt that she handled so adeptly.
There is one point that I want to make in regard to the third segment, which starts off with a hip scene of Catherine dancing with several other young ladies. The top that she wore was sleeveless, and the shorts exposed most of her legs. I was struck by how thin Catherine looked, too thin in my opinion. I can't help but wonder whether she may have been struggling with some anorexia issues at that point in her life. She certainly could have been under a lot of pressure in her private life (in regard to her split-up with Fabrizio and a custody battle over Sabrina). In a 2002 interview, Catherine acknowledged that she struggled with anorexia during her marriage to Johnny Dorelli in the 1970's. I wonder if those issues could have been surfacing already in 1964. Here is an Italian fotobusta showing that scene, followed by what appear to be on-set photos taken while the scene was being shot and publicity photos of Catherine in her wardrobe from the scene:
It is worth noting that Sante Achilli worked on this film. As previously discussed on the blog, he became Catherine's constant companion following her split with Capucci. I have yet to read any information discussing when Catherine split with Achilli.
I believe that this was Catherine's next film project after La Ronde and was probably shot in July and August of 1964. The July 1, 1964 issue of Variety reported from Rome that "Catherine Spaak back from Paris and readying stint in 'Per Tre Notti D'Amore' (For Three Nights of Love), also a three-part item directed by Mauro Bolognini, Luigi Comencini, and Renato Castellani; Silio Clementelli produces for Jolly Film." The August 5, 1964 issue of Variety reported from Rome that "Catherine Spaak and Renato Salvatori to Sicily for exteriors on 'For Three Nights of Love,' with Renato Castellani directing this third episode; others were helmed by Mauro Bolognini and Luigi Cimencini."
The film was released in Italy on October 8, 1964 (per IMDB). I have seen no indication that it was ever released in the U.S. IMDB merely shows an English translation of the title as "Three Nights of Love."
Now, let's look at some promotional material for the film.
An Argentinian poster:
A polish poster (from the archives at emovieposter.com):
Japanese magazine clippings and ads:
A Mexican lobby card (from the archives at emovieposter.com):